The festive season is upon us – it’s Pride Month! This year marks an important milestone for the LGBTQ+ community in the United Kingdom as the nation celebrates the festival’s 50th anniversary. And after two years of no in-person events, this year’s London Pride calendar is not one to be missed. Here’s a guide to celebrating Pride in London.
The History of Pride
The first Pride festival was a riot. Though not the first one against police harassment, the events that took place at the Stonewall Inn, a hidden gay club in New York City, on June 28, 1969, were the catalyst that started the movement. Taking place during a time when gay clubs weren’t openly accepted, the police raided the club, which got out of control, resulting in a six-night confrontation where a group of released patrons and bystanders, led by Black Trans Women, grew tired of the constant harassment and retaliated. The following year a march took place to commemorate the events, and Pride was born
As the movement grew across the globe, London celebrated its first Pride, inspired by the Stonewall Riots, on July 1, 1972, with 2000 people taking part in the march to celebrate the Queer community and in support of equal rights. Fast forward to the present time, and it’s estimated that more than one million people celebrate Pride in London.
London Pride 2022
London is full of festivals taking place every year, and Pride is just one of them. But celebrating Pride in London is a vibe, so get your festival outfit ready for the parade! Held on July 2, it will retrace the original route of the first parade back in 1972 to mark the 50th anniversary of Pride in London. Kicking off in Hyde Park at 12pm, the train of people will pass through Piccadilly, Haymarket, and Trafalgar Square before reaching Whitehall Place, the final stop. You can find more information on the route here.
This year’s pride theme is #AllOurPride, a nod to uniting the Queer communities from past, present and future, and with the festival being more than just a celebration, this year’s Pride is calling on the government to step up. How? By including Trans people in the conversion therapy ban, reforming the Gender Recognition Act, installing the first AIDS memorial, and providing equal protection for all LGBTQ+ people against hate crimes.
If you’re unable to take part in the parade, worry not! You can watch the festivities for free as a bystander along the route, or you can purchase a grandstand seat ticket.
Other Pride Festivals
The birth of the Pride led to the creation of other Pride parades that continue to be held and are worth checking out, including London Trans Pride and UK Black Pride, Europe’s largest celebration for African, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Asian and Caribbean-heritage people.
LGBTQ+ Venues to Visit in London
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, more commonly known as RVT, is South London’s oldest and most iconic LGBTQ+ venue. The vivacious former Victorian music hall invites guests into a fiery red and yellow-coloured venue with shiny disco balls that create disco fever vibes. Opened in 1865, the performance outlet has it all! From cabaret performances and comedy shows to live music, panto, and much more.
There is always something going on at the RVT, giving you loads of options this Pride season. Think Drag acts like Gender Fluidz and Woof, rock ‘n’ roll honky tonk nights with Duckie, Pride Got Talent‘s celebration of LGBTQ+ and Lesbian people, and Butch, Please!, a night for Trans and Non-Binary people. Check your calendar and get booked for your next Queer night out!
Address: 372 Kennington Lane, London, SE11 5HY. Nearest stop: Vauxhall station
Glory, the most famous gay bar and LGBTQ+ performance venue in East London double as a nightclub with its basement dance floor on the weekends. Neon-coloured lights invite ecstatic visitors to party the night away, with stage lights making you feel like a star.
The Glory has a packed calendar filled with tons of events – even outside of Pride. If you’re short on time, check out the LipSync 1000, Europe’s fiercest Drag battle or Thirst Trap Pride Special for the best Queer party in town.
Address: 281 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8AS. Nearest overground stop: Haggerston
Dalston Superstore really does it all, a mix of equal measures Queer nightclub, cabaret lives, gallery and community space. Most famous for its weekend Drag Brunch, this is a must-visit for anyone interested in the London Queer scene.
Catering to a diverse clientele, the multipurpose venue’s social calendar has something for everyone. Join for a Queer R&B and House night, a Drag brunch or an easy Sunday night session. But, honestly, there really is no better place to party during this Pride season.
Address: 117 Kingsland High St, London, E8 2PB. Nearest overground station: Dalston Kingsland
A visit to Queer Britain, the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum is a must, as you will get to celebrate Queer culture and its history. A free entry space open to everyone who wants to discover the experiences, struggles and successes of LGBTQ+ in the UK.
The factory-like brick building houses a celebratory exhibit that doesn’t delve into tragedy. Instead, it focuses on the jubilant part of LGBTQ+ history. Come here to absorb information and learn more about the Queer scene, the past and the present.
Address: 2 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH. Nearest tube station: Kings Cross train station
Although not an LGBTQ+ venue, this iconic hotel has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including hosting the London Queer Fashion Show. They recently opened their doors to Clandestina Queer Comedy and have an incredible lineup of women, Trans and non-binary comics that you can support. If you are looking for a gentle introduction to the Queer scene this Pride season, Mama Shelter is the show for you.
Address: 437 Hackney Road, London, E2 8PP. Nearest tube station: Bethnal Green